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Hadleigh United's new player-assistant manager Steve Holder will have a positive impact says Christian Appleford




Hadleigh United manager Christian Appleford is confident that his new player-assistant Steve Holder will have a positive impact both on and off the pitch.

Experienced frontman Holder has joined Hadleigh following a stint with fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division strugglers Ely City, whom he helped to secure their Step 5 status and defend the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup last term.

It marks a first move into a senior coaching role for the 32-year-old, but Appleford believes Holder has plenty to offer as the Brettsiders aim to move off the foot of the table.

After leaving Ely City, Steve Holder is Hadleigh’s new player-assistant manager
After leaving Ely City, Steve Holder is Hadleigh’s new player-assistant manager

“Steve played for me for a number of years at Mildenhall and we got on really well,” said the Hadleigh boss.

“We have kept in regular contact over the years and he is someone I have been keen to bring in for a while.

“We are struggling to score goals at the moment so in that sense Steve is the perfect fit. He will pop up with some important goals as a player, but he can also pass on his experience to the other attackers.

“He has a lot of knowledge of players at this level and that is going to be invaluable.

“This is a first step on the ladder for him and I am sure he is going to become a key part of the club.”

As well as talking up Holder’s coaching credentials, Appleford is also pleased to have the former Bury Town and Newmarket Town striker available for selection on match days.

Having found the net just 26 times, Hadleigh are the division’s joint lowest goalscorers this term – an issue that reared its head again on Saturday during the 1-1 draw at Godmanchester Rovers.

Appleford’s men created a number of good openings during the course of the 90 minutes but only had Joel Glover’s goal to show for their efforts.

And it is that aspect of the game in particular that the manager is backing Holder to enhance.

“With his injuries, Steve might have had to adapt his game over the years but he still knows where the net is,” added Appleford.

“If he had played Saturday I am sure he would have scored. We must have had something like 15 or 16 corners and it would have been just like Steve to pop up with a goal.

“It gives us another very good option going forward. We need to score more goals and Steve will help with that.”

By chance, the Appleford/Holder tenure will get under way on Saturday with the visit of their former club Mildenhall Town (3pm).

Much was expected of Ricky Cornish’s men following a busy summer of transfer activity, but it has so far been an inconsistent campaign and they head to Millfield sitting 10th in the table.

“On paper they have a very good squad but it seems like they might not have always produced,” Appleford said of his old club.

“It is the same as us in a way – you don’t know what you are going to get.

“Anybody watching us play at Godmanchester on Saturday would have wondered why we are bottom of the league. Their manager and players said exactly that.

“It is all about consistency though and that is what we are looking for.

“If we can get close to matching the Godmanchester performance against Mildenhall then we have a good chance of getting something.”

As well as Holder’s arrival, Appleford has further boosted his squad with the arrivals of forward Mason Ransome and defender Jake Green.


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